Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Last week was my first week back at school and I truly couldn't wait to get into my classroom! Over the summer, whenever I saw any kids, I had to hold back the urge to ask them to sit down with me to make an Art project! Because that wouldn't be weird or anything...

Since I started last year after the school year had begun, I never got to experience the first week of school. With the entire summer to plan, I spent a lot of time thinking and dreaming about what I wanted the first day of Art to look like. Of course we need to talk about expectations and the rules of the Art room, but I also want to inspire and excite my students on their first day, to get their minds spinning with possibilities about what they could create this year(and not to mention, it wouldn't be very fun for me to talk about rules all day!)...

Enter edible color wheels.

Imagine 28 second graders filing in to find the typical pencils, glue, and markers missing, replaced with cookies and colored frosting! Their facial expressions were a mixture of confusion and anticipation! Isn't that how we always want our students to look? After hearing about bits of their summers, new seats, and a quick run-down of the rules, we began our baking debut!

To prep this lesson, I added the red, yellow and blue food coloring to the frosting to create the primary colors, so that the kids wouldn't have to use the food coloring( I had visions of ruined first day outfits!). To start the lesson, we talked about primary and secondary colors( I left out tertiary colors due to time constraints). I put the kids into groups of three and numbered them 1-3. Each group received one color wheel worksheet to complete together(this was a good time to talk about team-work and supporting one another). The students then mixed the primary colored frosting in a new cup to create the secondary colors. Each student in the group got to ice one of the primary cookies and one of the secondary cookies. The number system helped keep the project organized and it allowed time for me to walk around to check to see if everyone had made their color correctly.

The process and results were wonderful! We all had so much fun and most importantly, I truly believe the kids will have a lasting memory of color mixing, and it wasn't too horrible for me either! I can't wait to repeat this project year after year!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Would our thinking and feeling be the same without words?

For the past few days, I have gone back to this question time and time again. 'How do words and language shape our thinking?' I thank radiolab(my absolute favorite source of awe and inspiration)for sparking this idea for me. Their latest podcast focuses on words and weaves many stories in and out of this concept. One story that really struck a chord with me was of a neurologist, Jill Bolte Taylor, who had a blood vessel burst in her left hemisphere, which hushed all of her brain chatter, memories, worries, everything! Even though it sounds horrible, she reveled in the pure experience she felt without the many filters in which we process the world around us. In time, she regained her use of language, but could not forgot the joy she experienced without words.

Throughout my life, the concept of living without words has been an interesting idea: when i was in elementary school, I loved reading about Helen Keller and Louis Braille. Later on, I was really moved by the book 'Diving Bell and the Butterfly'. I realized that even my childhood favorite, 'The Little Mermaid' follows a main character who for the majority of the movie is wordless. With words whirling constantly in my mind, I often wish for a break... but what would it really be like to not be able to communicate? I look forward to continue thinking about this idea with Taylor's book, 'My Stroke of Genius'. Hopefully radiolab won't come up with a new exciting podcast until I'm finished with it!

Ok, I think I need to put a stop to my endless words! This week, I hope to share a few of the lessons I'll be teaching(with more pictures than words, promise!). Week two, here I come!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Pezzettino, by Leo Lionni is the story of Pezzettino, a tiny orange piece that feels that he has broken off from something larger and sets out to find that something larger.(pezzettino literally means 'tiny' piece' in italian.) He comes across many creatures and asks, "am I a piece of you?", only to find that no one will claim him. Pezzettino discovers that he is not a part of something else at all, but that he is made up of his own little pieces that make him simply himself.

When I thought about creating a blog, I knew I wanted it to be a collection of tiny pieces that are meaningful to me. Pieces of art, ideas, silliness, and most importantly, the wisdom of children that I get to witness everyday as an art teacher!

I am currently working on a lesson based on the Pezzettino story. stay tuned!